Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Child abuse at Hyde Park Baptist

I was just about shaking with anger by the time I finished reading this story.
"In December of 2003, Tara Turner, recently divorced and with a year-old baby, was looking for a day care center. A family-law attorney, she planned to work from her Hyde Park home and wanted a place nearby so she could spend as much time as possible with her son, Parker. The Hyde Park Baptist Child Development Center, run by the Hyde Park Baptist Church, seemed perfect, located in the middle of one of Austin's oldest and poshest neighborhoods, and run by one of the city's best known churches. Tuition was high, and there was a long waiting list for enrollment, but Turner visited the center and was impressed with the colorful classrooms and attentive staff. 'They seemed to run a very tight ship,' she says."
It goes on from there to tell the story of her son's abuse and the abuse of other children by one of the center's oldest teachers. Beyond that, the story makes it pretty clear that the church had been aware of this teacher's abuse for years, and had dragged their feet on doing anything substantive until the situation got too hot to deal with, at which point they let her go and tried to keep it quiet, and they might have succeeded had this crazy old bat not left a knot on the back of the head of the son of a family-law attorney. Oops.

What's really frightening here is that it's not like this mother was just dumping her kid off at Crazy Eddie's Discount Daycare. She was supposedly leaving her son in the best care that money could buy. Go ahead and read the whole story, but I find this part particularly interesting, though not surprising:
"Turner also took Parker to a therapist. She says he found his behavior to be consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, including a recent tendency to imitate abusive behavior. Turner says Parker has become aggressive with other children and with Turner's pet terrier. According to Turner, Parker was sweet and gentle with the dog when the family first adopted it in the fall of 2004 but later began to kick, hit, and smother the 5-lb. dog. Also during that fall, when Parker was in Lowry's class, Turner says she noticed his behavior toward other children becoming more aggressive – behavior which has continued. According to Turner, the child who used to hug other children too much now pushes them down, unprovoked."
It's not surprising that this behaviour is coming out in this lady's son after what he's been through, and hopefully it's been caught soon enough that he'll be okay with time and some help. But the thing to remember is that somewhere in the past, there's almost certainly a variation on this story that occured in the early life of the teacher who committed this abuse. She didn't just wake up one day and decide to be an abusive old troll. No abuser, no violent offender, no murderous dictator happened like that. It excuses nothing, but I think it explains a lot.

No comments: